Ernestine Briggs held a candle, shielding it from the wind, and bowed her head last night to pray for Aaron Levenson, a furniture company executive fatally shot on the street in Southwest Baltimore.
Mrs. Briggs, of Irvington, was a stranger to the Levenson family. But she came to join 35 people in remembering the 30-year-old father of two who was slain Oct. 3 in an apparent robbery attempt in front of the family business, Royal Furniture Co. in the 500 block of South Monroe Street.
She came because her 14-year-old grandson was killed when he got caught in the cross-fire of a shooting in Baltimore in August 1989.
"I feel your pain because I'm still hurting myself," she told Mr. Levenson's stepbrother, Robert Boyar, and his wife, Linda Gilbert.
The vigil was organized by the Rev. Willie Ray of the Sharon Baptist Church to call attention to the Levenson murder and the 250 other killings in Baltimore so far this year.
The group, which included city officials, police officers, neighbors and furniture company workers, gathered at 5:30 p.m. to pray, light candles and march around the neighborhood. Mr. Levenson's widow, children and parents did not attend.
City Council President Mary Pat Clarke told the group that the city needs to pull together to fight violent crime.
"In this family that is Baltimore, Aaron Levenson's family is a very important part," she said. "We hope that you'll let us stand beside you and share your sorrow."
Nancy Rimkevicius, a Royal Furniture employee and neighborhood resident, was still shocked by the crime. "We just want to say that this neighborhood is a good neighborhood," she said. "Let's just hope that the people see these values and come forward to turn in the people doing the bad things."
Two Baltimore men charged in the Levenson slaying were found through a tip to police. Both have been charged with first-degree murder, attempted armed robbery and a handgun offense.
Councilman Lawrence A. Bell told the group that Mr. Levenson's death will not be meaningless.
"No community is immune to this type of tragedy," he said. "We've got to raise the consciousness of people. Nothing would be more tragic than letting someone pass in this manner without trying to do something about it."